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The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt

Narrated by: Michael Page
Length: 18 hrs and 53 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (416 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In this landmark work, one of the world's most renowned Egyptologists tells the epic story of this great civilization, from its birth as the first nation-state to its final absorption into the Roman Empire - 3,000 years of wild drama, bold spectacle, and unforgettable characters.

Award-winning scholar Toby Wilkinson captures not only the lavish pomp and artistic grandeur of this land of pyramids and pharaohs but for the first time reveals the constant propaganda and repression that were its foundations. Drawing upon 40 years of archaeological research, Wilkinson takes us inside an exotic tribal society with a pre-monetary economy and decadent, divine kings who ruled with all-too-recognizable human emotions.

Riveting and revelatory, filled with new information and unique interpretations, The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt will become the standard source about this great civilization, one that lasted - so far - longer than any other.

©2010 Toby Wilkinson (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"This is a penetrating and authoritative overview of a violent ancient civilization often revered by contemporary scholars and enthusiasts." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Well Written and Detailed

Any additional comments?

This is not a book for a listener who has only a passing interest in history. There is a lot of detail, everything from the motivations of the upper classes to the everyday struggles of the peasantry, and you'll hear about the lives and deeds of many Pharaohs over a period of 3000 years. Now, if you're still interested after reading that, let me say that I think the book strikes a good balance between depth and scope for a pure history book. The author stays on task and doesn't get too caught up in minutiae, just enough to give the reader a good description of the character of each period. There are good descriptions and explanations of every Pharaoh from Narmer to Cleopatra and the cultural landscape and evolution of Egypt is well represented. The narrator does a good job and kept me interested, although I think there were a few things that were mispronounced. That said, a book like this has many, many challenging names for an English speaker to pronounce so I don't fault him much for it. Overall, I enjoyed taking a fairly deep dive into the history of Egypt and it left me wanting more, especially with regards to the Ptolemaic and Roman periods which were, understandably, not really the focus of this book.

39 of 41 people found this review helpful

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Very comprehensive but the timeline could be better

It would have been helpful if the author had tied events in Egypt to events elsewhere that the reader could recognize so the timeline would be more understandable.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Absolutely superb!

Very very well done. More history books should be done like this one. The narrator was perfect for the material. A real pleasure to listen too!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Really hard to follow on Audio

I have listened to 300ish+ books and I just found this book really hard to follow. It just didn’t seem to flow well from topic to topic.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

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Infornative, Concise, Rich in Details, but...

The history is told (it could be argued appropriately) from 21st century lens steeped in 21st century western values. Whether it is the reader or the narrator, the tone can get quite judgmental, and it may be good to approach the material lest we lose sight of the political structures necessary for the running of such a state. It is a well written, chronologically sound and ordered book well worth reading/listening to.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic Book! All-Around Wonderful

What more can I say than "wow"! This book has it all, from great coverage of all things Ancient Egypt to a great reading by the narrator, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in history or just looking to have fun learning!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Entertaining and educational

This is a very good attempt to do the impossible, cover such a vast subject in readable length. The author writes with personality, authority and clarity. He does fill gaps in our knowledge with his imagination and he views the subject with the bias of a late twentieth century, anglocentric, politically liberal academic (I realize the last two are redundant). Some find this annoying. I find it entertaining. If you don’t know much about the subject, you will be well informed and the subject will come alive for you. If you are well read on the subject, you should benefit from one expert’s informed perspective even (or especially) if you disagree with his embellishments and his hypothesizing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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More than you ever wanted to know...

Is there anything you would change about this book?

More than you ever wanted to know about Egyptian archaeology. I bought this expecting a sweeping review of Egyptian history, but the bulk of the work was a detailed description of the pyramids, palaces, necropolises, etc.

14 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Excellent History

I really enjoyed this book. While—like most more popular histories of Ancient Egypt—it can be overly easy to get lost in the cavalcade of dynasties, we should remember he is working with the sources passed down to us. Personally,I found it easy to understand and follow. I think this is probably the most "scholarly" history of ancient Egypt on this site.

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First Audio Book I've Failed to Finish...

I tried. I really tried. I love ancient Egypt and learning about it... But the Narrator puts me straight to sleep. After nearly 2 months of struggling to stay interested, I've tapped out. Made it half way through. I've bought the paper back in hopes the content is more easily ingested that way.